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Monday, November 14, 2011

Arab League suspension ‘dangerous step,’ Libya scenario will not be repeated: Syria

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Monday that an Arab League decision to suspend his country’s membership was “an extremely dangerous step,” adding that the scenario of Libya will not be repeated in Syria.

“The decision of the Arab League to suspend Syria ... represents a dangerous step,” Muallem told a packed news conference in Damascus.

“Today there is a crisis in Syria which is the price it has to pay for ts strong positions. Syria will not budge and will emerge stronger ... and plots against Syria will fail,” said the minister.

Muallem also told a televised news conference that Washington’s welcoming of the Arab League decision amounted to “incitement.”

He said Saturday's near-unanimous vote at the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo was an illegitimate decision prompted by American incitement.

“We wanted the role of the Arab League to be a supporting role but if the Arabs wanted to be conspirators, this is their business,” he told a press conference in Damascus that betrayed his country’s deep concern over the decision.

The vote to suspend Syria put Damascus in direct confrontation with other Arab powers, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who were pushing for the suspension. The vote constituted a major boost for the Syrian opposition.

Syrian President Bashar Assad asserts that extremists pushing a foreign agenda to destabilize Syria are behind the country’s unrest, rather than true reform-seekers aiming to open the country’s autocratic political system.

Muallem repeated his invitation for Arab League officials to visit Syria this week to oversee implementation of an Arab League plan for ending the bloodshed.

Syria also has called for an Arab summit to discuss the country’s spiraling political unrest. But critics say that is another possible bid by Assad to buy time as he faces snowballing punitive action over a crackdown that the U.N. estimates has killed more than 3,500 people since mid-March.

Muallem said “Libya scenario will not be repeated” in Syria despite the Arab League’ suspension on account of the stance taken by China and Russia . He said the two U.N. veto-wielding countries will not change their positions on Syria at the U.N. Security Council after the Arab League's decision.


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